How Counseling Can Help With Porn Addiction

Counseling can help individuals with a porn addiction address and change the behaviors and factors that may be causing the affliction.

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Why Is It So Hard To Ask For Help For Porn Addiction?

A historical stigma is attached to mental illness, and because of this, people often hesitate to seek help when mental health issues arise. Those who struggle with pornography addiction may find it twice as hard to seek help since pornography abuse is still a taboo topic for many. Others may find it hard to accept that pornography use can be an issue since pornography is legal, and sex and masturbation are considered normal human behavior in most cultures. As with any addiction, admitting that there is a problem and seeking help are the first two steps an individual must take to make a change.  

Therapy And Counseling For Porn Addiction

Counseling can help someone explore what led to an addiction to pornography and how they can better cope with it moving forward. Counseling can also help people identify their triggers for using pornography and help them to develop new and healthy coping skills for these triggers. There are many different counseling interventions one can try to elicit change in behavior regarding pornography addiction.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common therapeutic intervention that has proven successful in treating substance use, mental health, and behavioral disorders. CBT therapists can encourage clients to evaluate the connection between irrational thinking patterns and maladaptive pornography use. CBT can help a person identify their triggers for pornography use. Ultimately, this can help clients overcome addiction by assisting them in changing their thoughts and behavioral patterns. 

Group Therapy

Group therapy is helpful to those suffering from pornography addiction because people are more likely to open up when they feel they can relate to others. Group therapy is also beneficial because people in a group therapy setting typically struggle with the same issues, so they tend not to judge. Moreover, people are more likely to share when they do not fear being judged.

Group therapy can also help people develop or improve social skills. Social skills can deteriorate when one isolates due to pornography addiction. In conclusion, group therapy can help members gain advice and guidance from others who have been where they are. 

Family Or Couples Therapy

When someone is addicted to pornography, it affects more than just that person; porn abuse can affect an individual’s friends, family, and partner. Family or couples therapy is often vital in addressing how addiction affects the family unit or significant other. This type of therapy can help improve communication and intimacy in couples. Furthermore, it can help individuals see how their porn abuse affects their loved ones. Sometimes this realization can be motivation for change and recovery.

12-Step Groups

Individuals with pornography addiction may also benefit from joining support groups where they can be part of a community of people who struggle with the same issues. An individual can attend several 12-step support groups to address their pornography addiction. These 12-step groups include Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Porn Anonymous, Porn Addicts Anonymous, and Sexaholics Anonymous.

Online Therapy

Another option for those looking for treatment for porn addiction is online therapy. Online therapy allows an individual to receive treatment from the comfort of their home, making the service convenient, accessible, and private. As with any form of therapy, it’s important to build a trusting relationship with one’s therapist to address one’s concerns fully.

Additional Forms Of Therapies

Beyond traditional therapy modalities, there are alternative forms of therapy for pornography addiction, including hypnosis, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and pharmacologic interventions. Some suggest that hypnotherapy can identify the root cause of the habit by penetrating the subconscious. EMDR therapy can help an individual disassociate positive feelings linked to excessive pornography use.

Pharmacologic interventions may also be helpful in the treatment of pornography addiction by regulating the body’s dopamine levels. When pornography use has become excessive and addictive, it can deplete dopamine levels and bring on symptoms of depression. Once this happens, a person may benefit from medications like SSRIs that help treat depression. Typically, a person should seek counseling even when using medicine since the medicine can only address the physical symptoms of addiction. 

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Warning Signs Of Porn Addiction

If you are unsure if your pornography use is a problem, below are a few warning signs that you may be suffering from a pornography addiction:

  • Unable to stop watching pornography 
  • Always thinking about pornography 
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Hiding use from loved ones
  • Denial or blame
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Unable to feel pleasure 
  • Choosing pornography over sex with your partner 
  • No longer feeling attracted to your partner  

Recovery Is Possible

Consistency with a therapist or counselor with experience in pornography addiction can encourage the development of healthy thought patterns and behaviors and promote long-term recovery. Finding the right counselor is essential, and a person should always have a good rapport with their counselor. No matter what therapy an individual chooses, a person’s openness and engagement in treatment can help them succeed in recovery.

Learn more about your online therapy options for porn addiction today. 

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Author

Amber Biello-Taylor, CAP, LCSW

Photo of Amber Biello-Taylor, CAP, LCSW